Chee prevented from leaving for conference, passport seized

April 2, 2006
Singapore Democrats

This post is at least a year old. Some of the links in this post may no longer work correctly.

On 1 April 2006 at about 10:30 pm, I was at the airport preparing to leave for Istanbul, Turkey to attend the 4th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy (WMD). However, the Government prevented me from boarding my flight and impounded my passport. The immigrations officials informed me that the Official Assignee (OA) had instructed them to stop my departure.

This is a violation of my human rights.

Earlier in the week, the OA’s office had said that I needed to propose a payment plan to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong for the $500,000 in damages that the courts have awarded them in their defamation suits against me.

I have indicated that from the little income that I make from selling my books, I need it to support my family. It doesn’t make sense for me to deprive my children of their needs in order to pay the two former prime ministers, who are both multi-millionaires (Mr Lee Kuan Yew could even be a billionaire), money that they obviously do not need.

After I said that I had insufficient income to make a proposal to pay Messrs Lee and Goh, the OA’s office then asked me to submit a breakdown of my monthly income and expenditure so that it could determine how much I had to pay the two men. It promised that if I undertook to do so, the OA would consider my travel application.

I complied and submitted my Income and Expenditure Statement. But instead of fulfilling its promise, the OA then shifted its position and again asked me to make a proposal to pay Lee and Goh before it would consider my travel application (see exchange of emails below).

It seems clear that the Mentor Minister Lee and Senior Minister Goh are using the excuse that I cannot pay them to stop me from traveling. Effectively, I have become their captive.

The authorities have little reason to stop me from traveling. First, I have shown that all the expenses of my attending the conference in Turkey are borne by the organizers. I am not using my own money to pay for the trip.

Second, I have absolutely no intention of leaving Singapore and not returning. I assure Messrs Lee and Goh that I will always return to my country to continue fighting for my fellow citizens.

Hence, there can be only one reason why the Government is stopping my overseas travel: It is nervous about my continuing action to garner international support for the democracy movement in Singapore and to tell the world about the repressive habits of the PAP.

In particular, I was going to highlight the undemocratic nature of elections in Singapore at the WMD conference in Istanbul and draw attention to the corruption of vote-buying of the PAP under the guise of giving out “Progress” bonuses. I also wanted the international democratic forces to know how the PAP is intimidating voters by linking upgrading of housing estates to the elections.

In addition, I was also going to seek support for an international team to come to Singapore to observe the elections.

The PAP is obviously afraid of adverse international opinion and has thus played dirty again by impounding my passport and effectively placing me under city arrest.

The PAP may have the power to prevent me from leaving Singapore for the time being, but it will ultimately pay the price for its continued repression and lack of respect fro democratic principles and human rights.

CHEE SOON JUAN
Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Party

1. Email from OA to Dr Chee on 28 Mar 06

Dear Dr Chee,

BANKRUPTCY NO.38 OF 2006

We refer to your application to travel submitted on 20/3/06 and to
your attendance at our office this morning.

2 When we queried you on your average monthly income, you informed us
that we cannot ask you about your income over the counter as you need time
to recall how much you earned and that you wanted us to write to you
requesting the said information. You also told us not to “act cute” when we
explained to you that as your trustee in bankruptcy, the Official Assignee
has the right to query you on your affairs as and when necessary. However,
you told us that every request for information that the Official Assignee
makes regarding your affairs has to be written down in “black and white”.

3 Enclosed herewith is the Income & Expenditure Statement for the
period 10/2/06 -28/3/06 for your completion. Please let us have the
completed Statement by 30/3/06. We will examine your Income & Expenditure
Statement and thereafter determine the monthly instalment you are required
to contribute for the benefit of your creditors. Once you undertake to do
so, the Official Assignee will consider your application to travel.

Yours faithfully
MS KALASELVI RENGASAMY
MANAGER, INDIVIDUAL INSOLVENCY DIVISION
For OFFICIAL ASSIGNEE

2. Dr Chee submits the Income & Expenditure Statement on 30 Mar 06

3. Email from OA to Dr Chee on 31 Mar 06

Dear Dr Chee,

BANKRUPTCY NO. 38 OF 2006

We refer to your Income & Expenditure Statement which you submittedon 30/3/06.

2 We note that you have disclosed that your present income is insufficient to pay for your expenses. We would strongly advise you to be gainfully employed so that you can contribute monthly instalment payments for the benefit of your creditors.

3 We would also like you to clarify what you mean by “savings” which you have disclosed in Part (II) of your Income & Expenditure Statement.

4 We note that you have not made any proposal on your monthly instalment payments for the benefit of your creditors. Please let us know how much you will contribute monthly. As we mentioned in our earlier e-mail, only after you undertake to do so, we will consider your application to travel.

Yours faithfully

MS KALASELVI RENGASAMY
MANAGER, INDIVIDUAL INSOLVENCY DIVISION

For OFFICIAL ASSIGNEE

4. Email from Dr Chee to OA on 31 Mar 06

Dear Ms Kalaselvi Rengasamy,

This is what you stated in your previous email: “Enclosed herewith is the Income & Expenditure Statement for the period 10/2/06-28/3/06 for your completion. Please let us have the completed Statement by 30/3/06. We will examine your Income & Expenditure Statement and thereafter determine the monthly instalment you are required to contribute for the benefit of your creditors. Once you undertake to do so, the Official Assignee will consider your application to travel.”I have complied with your request and submitted the Income & Expenditure Statement. Now you say: “We note that you have not made any proposal on your monthly instalment payments for the benefit of your creditors. Please let us know how much you will contribute monthly. As we mentioned in our earlier e-mail, only after you undertake to do so, we will consider your application to travel.”

I have given the breakdowwn of my expenses and my income in my statement.

You can see clearly from the figures that I do not have enough funds to make monthly payments to Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong. This is why I am unable, as I have stated repeatedly, to make any proposal for monthly payments.

Sincerely,

CHEE SOON JUAN